How has Italy reacted to a cautious easing of lockdown?

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Protesters in Venice. @Diana Vandeville
Protesters in Venice. @Diana Vandeville

ON Monday, Italians emerged from two months of strict coronavirus lockdown. People have reacted with joy and relief at being reunited with family members and finally being able to exercise outdoors. But others who have been struggling without work for eight weeks consider the easing too slow.

May 4 saw Italians out in force to enjoy their first walks and exercise far from home. Beach promenades were packed with people soaking up the sunshine.

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Those living in cities were finally able to wander around the streets to see how much the Covid-19 lockdown had changed their neighbourhood.

Bars and restaurants have been permitted to offer a takeaway service, so some residents toasted the new freedom with a takeaway coffee.

The new rules mean family members who had not seen each other for two months could finally be reunited as the government has allowed visits to relatives within regions.

Alongside celebration, however, there has been continued anger and protest by business owners who will not be allowed to reopen until June 1. Bars, restaurants, and hairdressers have been demonstrating to express their desire and need to resume work.

In the economically disadvantaged south of the country, remaining closed for another month will result in the failure of many commercial activities and will aggravate the economic and social emergency that is brewing.

Over the next few weeks, the government will have to find solutions that will keep at bay a second, possibly deadlier wave of coronavirus cases as well as avoiding economic collapse.



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